Coastal Conversations Radio Program

A public affairs radio program on WERU Community Radio, Coastal Conversation is supported by Maine Sea Grant, in partnership with co-hosts at Schoodic Institute and The First Coast.

What is Coastal Conversations?

Coastal Conversations is a public affairs program that explores current issues facing Maine’s coastal communities through conversations with people who live, work, and play on our coast. From fisheries to tourism, from energy to environment, from economy to ecology, Coastal Conversations goes beyond the social media sound bites, probing deeply into complex issues facing our coast and the creative solutions Maine people are using to solve them.

Tune in to WERU Community Radio (89.9 FM in Blue Hill and streaming online at from 4:00 to 4:30 PM on the fourth Friday of each month.

Audio archives (podcasts) of past shows, studio guest lists, and more, are available by show topic below. Podcasts are also available at

2024 Program Topics

May 24, 2024: A Day at SEA
April 26, 2024: Managing Future Forests
March 22, 2024: Changing Acadia
February 23, 2024:  Southwest Harbor
January 26, 2024: Storm Response

2023 Program Topics

February 24, 2023: On the Water in Belfast Harbor
January 27, 2023: Stories from Gouldsboro: Salmon and Sardines

2022 Program Topics

December 23, 2022: Maine Holiday Seafood Celebrations Past and Present
October 28, 2022: Stories from Eastport: Maine’s easternmost town
September 23, 2022: Writers of the Maine Coast
August 26, 2022: Voices from Maine and the Nation’s Working Waterfronts 2022
July 22, 2022: Landscape of Change
June 24, 2022: Pogies’ return fills a niche in the ocean and economy
May 27, 2022: Stories and Voices: Seasons of Change for Maine’s Sea-run Fish
April 22, 2022: A Celebration of Maine Seaweed
March 25, 2022: Rare Steller’s sea-eagle sparks attention and imagination
February 25, 2022: Maine Working Waterfronts: Access for Our Marine Economy
January 28, 2022: From the Sea Up (episode 3): Groundfish and Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

2021 Program Topics

December 24, 2021: From the Sea Up (episode 2): Kelp and American Eel
November 26, 2021: From the Sea Up (episode 1): Luke’s Lobster and Downeast Dayboat Scallops
October 22, 2021: Ocean Acidification, how can states and local communities respond?
August 27, 2021: Life and Science on Mount Desert Rock
July 23, 2021: The Art of the Maine Coast
June 25, 2021: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems: Ecological Connections and Research Methods
May 28, 2021: Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Perspectives from the Archives
April 23, 2021: Shellfish Markets and the Seafood Supply Chain (Shellfish Focus Day #3)
March 26, 2021: What’s Changing on the Mudflats (Shellfish Focus Day #2)
February 26, 2021: Shellfish Harvesting for the Future (Shellfish Focus Day #1)
January 22, 2021: The History and Future of Maine’s Seaweed Industry

2020 Program Topics

December 25, 2020: Holiday Seafood Recipes and Traditions
November 27, 2020: Lobster Research in a Changing Environment
October 23, 2020: Downeast Heritage
September 25, 2020: Maine’s 19th Century Fisheries
August 28, 2020: The Stories of the Sardine Industry
July 24, 2020: Women Fishermen in Maine and Prince Edward Island
June 26, 2020: The 1970s Life of Maine Lobstermen
May 22, 2020: Salters and Salmon
May 5, 2020: Boating Safety in a Time of COVID-19 (special report during WERU’s Maine Currents program)
April 24, 2020: The Impact of COVID-19 on Fisheries and Aquaculture
March 27, 2020: Seal and Whale Strandings in Maine, Why They Happen and Why We Respond (re-broadcast)
February 28, 2020:  Maine Fishermen’s Forum, A 40 Year Retrospective (re-broadcast)
January 24, 2020: Mudflat Classrooms

2019 Program Topics

December 27, 2019:  Holiday special: Maine Seafood Traditions (re-broadcast)
November 22, 2019: Advancing Maine’s Marine Economy
October 25, 2019: Resilience in Coastal Fishing Communities
September 27, 2019: The Maine Ocean School (re-broadcast)
August 23, 2019: Rockweed Economy and Ecology
July 26, 2019: Maine Authors
June 28, 2019: North Haven Community School Magnet Program
May 24, 2019: Restoring Alewives in the Bagaduce Watershed
April 26, 2019: Marine Worms: Ecology and Economy of Two Little-known Species
March 22, 2019: Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum 2019: Women in Fisheries
February 22, 2019: Portland’s Working Waterfront at a Crossroads
January 25, 2019: The Maine Ocean School

2018 Program Topics

December 28, 2018: Voices from the Nation’s Working Waterfronts (re-broadcast)
November 23, 2018: Voices from the Nation’s Working Waterfronts
October 26, 2018: Tourism and Economic Development in Downeast Maine
September 28, 2018: Maine Clams: What is Causing Their Decline and How Do We Bring Them Back?
August 24, 2018: Hancock County’s Conserved Lands
July 27 2018: Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Part 2
June 22, 2018: Maine Birds
May 25, 2018: Co-managing Maine Soft-shell Clams
April 27, 2018: Sears Island: Past, Present, and Future
March 23, 2018: Voices of the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Part 1
February 23, 2018: Seaweed Ecology
January 22, 2018: Biotoxins and Red Tide, From Marine Ecology to Public Health

2017 Program Topics

December 22, 2017: The World of the Maine Oyster
November 24, 2017: Whale Mortalities in the Northwest Atlantic
October 27, 2017: Transportation and Congestion in Acadia National Park
September 22, 2017: Salts & Water, Stories from the Maine Coast
August 25, 2017: Fisheries History at Penobscot Marine Museum
July 28, 2017: The Beaches Conference
June 23, 2017: Alewife Restoration & Monitoring
May 26, 2017: Downeast Fisheries Partnership
April 28, 2017: Sea Kayaing Safety and Stewardship
March 24, 2017: What is the Sutainable Ecological Aquaculture Network?
February 24, 2017: Maine’s Salt Marshes
January 27, 2017: Health Insurance for Lobstermen

2016 Program Archives

December 23, 2016: Waterfront Communities Prepare for Climate Change Impacts
October 28, 2016: Land Conservation in Downeast Maine
Young Mariners Series (Blog about series)
September 23, 2016: Young Mariners Lead the Fishing Industry
August 26, 2016: Young Mariners Go to College/Graduate School
July 22, 2016: Young Mariners Go to Camp
June 24, 2016: Leave No Trace in Acadia National Park, Stewardship for the Next 100 Years
May 27, 2016: World Fish Migration Day and Local Stream Restoration
April 8, 2016 (special show date): Gulls and Seabirds in the Gulf of Maine: How are They Doing?
March 31, 2016: Penobscot Watershed
February 26, 2016: Experience Maritime Maine
January 22, 2016: Where Have All the Shrimp Gone?
Special 2016 series: Coastal Conversations in Acadia, A special 18-episode series of 3-5 minute shorts in honor of the National Park Centennial

2015 Program Archives

December 25, 2015: Holiday special: Maine Seafood Traditions
November 27, 2015: Maine Scallops, What Makes Them So Great?
October 09, 2015 (special show date): Marine Debris
September 25, 2015: Phenology and Citizen Science on the Coast
August 28, 2015: The University of Maine’s Coastal Ocean Observing Efforts
July 24, 2015: History, Culture, and Heritage of the Lobster Industry in Maine
June 26, 2015: Coastal Beach Water Quality
May 22, 2015: The Spring Running, Fish Migration in Penobscot River and Bay
April 24, 2015: Maine Fishermen’s Forum, A 40 Year Retrospective
March 27, 2015: Seal and Whale Strandings in Maine, Why They Happen and Why We Respond
February 27, 2015: Green Crabs: Invasion, Impact, and Opportunities
January 23, 2015: Ocean Acidification

Why this radio program?

Maine’s coast is ground zero for issues that are critical to the state’s future. Today’s coastal issues are complex, simultaneously tied to global trends while very local in their impacts.

And the coast is changing. For example, our waterfronts are increasingly slammed by storms. Our fishing industry faces a worrisome future. Our tourists increasingly demand wifi before we can deliver. Demographic changes along the coast sometimes clash with traditional values. Affordable workforce housing in coastal towns is ever more scarce. And potential new coastal industries are confronted with unexpected hurdles.

At the same time, Maine’s people, be they scientists, decision-makers, or neighbors, are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to solving complicated coastal issues. Our schools are spearheading hands on marine education. Our fisheries leaders are experimenting with collaborative management approaches. Our waterfront industries are looking towards cooperation, not just competition. Our research community increasingly branches out of academic silos. Solutions on our coast are multi-faceted, innovative, collaborative, and uniquely Maine.

These kinds of issues need a forum. The challenges are plenty but Maine’s coast is a place where people like to learn from each other and share their successes, resources, and ideas. Coastal Conversations helps listeners make sense of the hot button issues on our coast, and learn about the critical, homegrown approaches to solving them.

About this radio program

Coastal Conversations is produced with help from the University of Maine Sea Grant Program, whose mission is to support Maine’s coastal communities through research, outreach, and education. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Maine, Maine Sea Grant brings marine science to Maine people. Coastal Conversations is a direct offshoot of Talk of the Towns, a popular WERU public affairs program hosted since 1993 by Ron Beard, now retired from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Talk of the Towns still airs on the second Friday of each month.

As of 2024, Coastal Conversations is supported by Maine Sea Grant, in partnership with Schoodic Institute and The First Coast.

 Join us from 4:00 to 4:30 PM on the fourth Friday of each month on WERU Community Radio, 89.9 FM in Blue Hill and streaming online at

Our show’s theme music, “A Following Sea,” was composed and performed by Paul Anderson.

Have a program idea? Contact Natalie Springuel